Easter: A tonic to the Christian faith

Ernest-Onuoha

“And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the Sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And entering into the Sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were frightened. And he said unto them, be not afraid, ye seek Jesus of Lazareth which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him”, (Mk. 16:2, 5, 6).

Their intentions were filled with hatred. Pilate, the chief priests, the elders, the Jews and even the paid soldiers, who were induced by bribe to say “the disciples came and carried Him away while we slept”. Yes, they were united against the truth, but had these enemies of the gospel succeeded in their evil plans, Christianity today would have been balderdash. But thanks to God for the Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the Bible also confidently and convincingly asserts that: “He is risen”, and the Church affirms incontrovertibly that: “He is risen indeed”.

Interestingly, the gospel compilers could not hide their joy, as they diligently reported the resurrection of Christ (Matt. 28:1-2, Mark 16:2-4, Luke 24:1-3, John 20:1-2). Their reportage, according to Theologians, brought harmony in the story of the resurrection even though they wrote at different times. Another impetus of the resurrection story is the different appearances, which speak volume of this event (Matt. 28:9-10, Mark 16:9-14, Luke 24:13-14, John 20:15-22, 26-28.).

It is to be noted that the gospel compilers were agreed on the occurrence of the resurrection on THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. The story, important as it is, marked the beginning of a week. The debate is still raging as to whether this first day of the week meant Sabbath (Saturday) or Sunday. Majority opinion favour Sunday, where this writer belongs, because the scripture says Jesus died on Good Friday on the Cross of Calvary and there, He paid the supreme price. His death now gave hope to the perishing humanity. But on the third day, He was raised. And that to all intent and purposes within the Christendom corresponds with Sunday. However, the argument about the first day of the week should not erode the importance of the season, for it has become the bedrock of the Christian faith.

However, St. Paul, while appreciating the resurrection story says: “and if Christ be not raised, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain” (1Cor. 15:14). He was right because the resurrection has come to be the soul of Christianity and its preaching. Therefore, remove it from it, and what we have would not be a fully-fledged Christianity. Indeed, it is interesting to note that on this first day of the week, the women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome) had gone early in the morning with spices to anoint Him, but what they saw surprised them: empty tomb, rolled away stone, an angel sitting on the right side and clothed in white were found. But they were given specific instruction; go to Galilee, which corresponds with what Jesus said before His death, and there you will see Him. The women were propelled and they took the news to town as directed. No one looking at the scenario of the resurrection of Jesus Christ would not be moved that indeed, the Saviour has risen never to die again. We have scores of stories of other heads of religions, who died and never came back to life. But with the resurrection of Jesus, a new dimension was added and was never to be uncontroverted. Therefore, Christians of all persuasion looking at what transpired are confident that the work of salvation on the Cross of Calvary has been won and this in no less measure gives tonic to their faith in the Lord. Therefore, as we celebrate this year’s Easter, we call upon all believers to ensure that Christ’s death on the Cross should not be in vain. Rather, this should be a time to share love and care in the power of the risen Lord. It is hoped that selfishness should be eschewed in its entirety both in our private and national life. With joy we announce, Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed. Happy Easter!



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